COLUMBIA, Missouri -- In a meeting of its Board of Curators Friday morning, the University of Missouri has authorized chancellor Brady Deaton to negotiate conference contracts and is examining the stability of the Big 12.
Much like Texas A&M giving the same power to R. Bowen Loftin earlier in the year, it appears to be the first move in leaving the Big 12 for another conference, presumably the SEC. According to a report from Mike DeArmond of the Kansas City Star, Deaton says the school has exchanged information with the SEC in regards to apply for membership. If the application is approved by the conference, the Tigers would compete in a new conference in 2012. Under Gary Pinkel, the Tigers have been on rise in recent years with a 43-17 record – including a .500 record in the first six games of the 2011 season – and haven't finished lower than second in their division since 2005.
If Missouri does leave the Big 12 for the SEC, the move would move the SEC to 14 teams, making it the second-largest football conference in the country. A week earlier, the Mountain West and Conference USA merged to create a 22-team, football-only conference.